Home Applications & Case Studies 3D Printing Honeycombs for Bees to Optimise Production of Honey

3D Printing Honeycombs for Bees to Optimise Production of Honey

Researchers at Auckland University of Technology (ATU) in New Zealand have used 3D printing technology to create artificial combs, therefore leaving bees more time for making honey.

Bees need combs to store their honey but it takes them a lot of energy to create them. Beekeeper Richard Evatt explains: “They have to consume a lot of honey. It’s six to eight times the amount of honey to one times the wax.”

ATU has developed a special computer software that analyses the sound of the beehive’s interior and creates 3D models based on it. A comb 3D printed in a day is equivalent to 60,000 bees creating it in a weeks time.

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One of the key things about bees is that they have a thing called bee space,” said Professor Peter Dearden. “They like spaces of particular sizes. It has to be very precise and accurate, so 3D printing seems like a great way to build up those things if you want to put in devices to cause bees to act in a particular way.

While the researchers have figured out the software to create artificial combs, the next step ahead would be finding a method to print these honeycombs out of beeswax.

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A relating project we have reported on is the Flow Hive, created by Australian beekeepers and launched as a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo earlier this year.

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